Term Paper: Comte and Tonnies Compare

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[. . .] It is interesting to contrast these two philosophers, because Comte views society as moving forward in terms of a quest for understanding. Although materialistic in its emphasis upon phenomenon that has an objective existence, as noted by both Ritzer in his comparative work on sociological theories, Comte's stress is upon the mind's ability to focus and comprehend, and the limits and reasons for human mental structures to have evolved as they have. Comte's stress upon human understanding in the individual is quite different from Tonnies' focus on human existence as the exercising of a variety of drives in the context of groups, rather than individual minds. Tonnies stresses the impact the human drives and human goals have upon the world. He does not see the quest for understanding as the basic human framework through which societal relationships are created. Given the broader view of society taken in recent years that tends to de-emphasize theology and the intellect as a cultural product of philosophy's location in the academy, the German philosopher's explanation ultimately emerges as more persuasive.

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